A mitrailleuse – from French mitraille, “grapeshot”) is a type of volley gun with multiple barrels of rifle calibre that can fire either multiple rounds at once, or several in rapid succession. The earliest true mitrailleuse was invented in 1851 by Belgian Army Captain Fafschamps, 10 years before the advent of the Gatling gun. It was followed by the Belgian Montigny mitrailleuse in 1863. Then the French 25 barrel “Canon à Balles”, better known as the Reffye mitrailleuse, was adopted in great secrecy in 1866. It became the first rapid-firing weapon deployed as standard equipment by any army in a major conflict. This happened during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. A steel block containing twenty-five 13 mm (.51 calibre) centre-firecartridges was locked against the breech before firing. With the rotation of a crank, the 25 rounds were discharged in rapid succession. The sustainable firing rate of the Reffye mitrailleuse was 100 rounds per minute. The effective reach of the Reffye mitrailleuse extended to about 2000 yards, a distance placing their batteries beyond the reach of Dreyse needle rifle fire. Reffye mitrailleuses were deployed in six gun batteries and were manned by artillery personnel. They were not infantry support weapons but rather a form of special artillery.